According to Waleed Alabsi, the differences in the genetic makeup in individuals affects how the body reacts to a drug. Pharmaco genetics refers to the study of the genetic differences in response to drugs. Due to their genetic makeup, some people metabolize drugs slowly resulting in the drug accumulating in the body causing toxicity. Other people metabolize drugs quickly such that after they take a dose, the drug levels in the blood never become high enough for the drug to become effective.
In half the population of people in the United States, the liver enzyme that metabolizes certain drugs works slowly. Such people are known as slow acetylators. In about 1 of 1500 people, the blood enzyme that inactivates drugs such as succinylcholine is at low levels. If succinylcholine is not rapidly inactivated, it can prolong muscle relaxation making the patient not breathe on their own after surgery.
Waleed Alabsi says that there is an estimated 10% of black me and a fewer percentage of black women that have a deficiency of an enzyme that protects red blood cells from certain toxic chemicals. In this population, some drugs such as chloroquine destroy red blood cells causing hemolytic anemia.
Another 1 of 20,000 people have a genetic defect that makes their muscles to be overly sensitive to certain inhaled anesthetics such as isoflurane, halothane, and sevoflurane. When given one of these anesthetics with a muscle relaxant, a life-threatening disorder known as malignant hyperthermia develops which causes high fever, stiffening of the muscles, and low blood pressure.
Genes affect how well drugs work:
By understanding how genetic differences affect drug responses, the GENELEX SYSTEM can be able to provide a more personalized approach to selecting the right medication for the patient. This kind of personalized treatment is called precision medicine and is increasingly becoming common.
Genes influence how well your liver breaks down the medicine:
According to Waleed Alabsi, the GENELEX tests done on genetic variation, look into variations in the genes that contain instructions for making liver enzymes that metabolize drugs.
Drugs that are inactive form, meaning that the drug has an immediate effect on the body, are made inactive in the liver enabling the body to discard it. When the liver enzyme that is supposed to break down a drug does not work well due to a genetic variation, the body will not be able to get rid of the drug effectively. This can cause high levels of the drug in the body leading to serious side effects.
Other drugs are taken in an inactive form and are broken down in the liver into their active form. When the enzyme responsible for converting the drug into its active form does not work properly dor to a genetic variation, the medication won’t be able to function.
These differences in how enzymes metabolize drugs, Waleed Alabsi shows that this means that people need different doses of a drug to achieve the same effect.
Use of gene variations to choose the right medication:
Children suffering from Leukemia are usually tested for gene variations for the enzyme that breaks down drugs called thiopurines by the GENELEX SYSTEM commonly used to treat childhood leukemia. Some genetic variations, require the patient to be administered with a smaller dose for the same effectiveness.
When GENELEX tests reveal that the enzyme does not work, Waleed Alabsi recommends that they are administered one-tenth of the normal dosage. This fraction of the medication gives the same benefits as someone whose enzymes are functioning normally and is provided with 10 times the dosage because their body metabolizes the drug effectively. For medications that are converted into an active form in the liver, genetic variations can mean that a person needs a different kind of drug entirely.